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HERON (V06p362001.jpg):

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Enumerated among the unclean birds (Lev. xi. 19 [R. V. margin, "ibis"]; Deut. xiv. 18; comp. Targ. V06p362002.jpg, where the context points to some bird of the Ardeidœ family). There are at least seven species of heron common in Palestine, especially in the marshy regions; and the addition of "after its kind" ("leminehu") in the passages mentioned above would imply that various species were included under "anafah."

In the Talmud the heron is characterized, in allusion to the etymology of its name ("anaf"), as a cruel and irascible bird, and is contrasted with the pious stork (Ḥul. 63a; comp. Rashi to Lev. xi. 19).

Bibliography:
  • Tristram, The Natural History of the Bible, p. 241;
  • L. Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds, p. 169.
E. G. H. I. M. C.
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